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What We’re Reading: July 16 – July 22

Debt ceilings, MID, and getting a $300k house for $16

Discussions over raising the debt ceiling have dominated news coverage for the past week. The impact of any failure could be widespread and will include the housing market. NPR talks to industry insiders that worry that if the political theatrics continue much longer, that could spook investors, drive up interest rates, push down home prices and hurt the economy.

While default could dramatically impact the housing and mortgage markets, MSNBC explains how Europe’s troubles are buoying the US mortgage market. Even as a potential U.S. default looms, the odds seem lower than a default in Europe which is helping to drive down US mortgage rates. It’s like living in the nicest house in a bad neighborhood.

Robert Siegel from NPR recently interviewed our own Jed Smith, managing director of quantitative research in our DC office, regarding the benefits of maintaining the mortgage interest deduction. Interesting fact: two-thirds of apartment dwellers support maintaining the deduction.

The glut of foreclosed homes plus a tanking economy isn’t bad for everyone. A man in suburban Dallas took advantage of a little known Texas law that (so far) is allowing him to move in and take possession of a $300,000 house for only a $16 filing fee.

Solar panels not only generate energy from the sun, but also save energy by lowering roof temperatures during the day and insulating at night according to a recent study to be published in a science journal. According to the press release:

the team determined that the amount saved on cooling the building amounted to getting a 5 percent discount on the solar panels’ price, over the panels’ lifetime. Or to put it another way, savings in cooling costs amounted to selling 5 percent more solar energy to the grid than the panels are actually producing— for the building researchers studied.

Applying for a job can be stressful. Add in all the drug/police/background checks and you start to wonder if you’re applying for the CIA. Now there’s one more check to worry about – social media check. Like any group that might come across as racist? post risque photos? mention your love for 420? It could all come back to haunt you.

Getting older is never fun. Health via CNN offers some suggestions on how you can recapture some of that energy and spunk of when you were 21. None of the advice should be surprising: get more sleep, eat well, exercise, take care of yourself and have a positive outlook.

How can you tell if someone is lying? Or want to avoid getting caught yourself? Here are some tell-tale signs that help the experts tell truth from fiction.

Dave

Senior Information Specialist

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